Galaxy S9 Teardown Reveals Aging Camera, Low Repairability

Galaxy S91 Credit: Android Authority
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Less than a month after their unveiling at Mobile World Congress 2018, the team over at iFixit has torn apart Samsung’s beastly new Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagships.

Most notably, the S9 and S9+ not only resemble their predecessors (the Galaxy S8 and S8+) from a design standpoint, but they were also given the same repair scores of just 4/10 — meaning they’re just as difficult to repair.

iFixit gave Apple’s iPhone X, in comparison, a slightly higher repair score of 6/10 — meaning the tenth anniversary iPhone flagship is a bit easier to repair than either the S8 or S9, however not by much. And although higher scores correspond with an easier repairability, according to the team’s official write-up, the Galaxy flagships share many similarities with their closest competition.

While they pointed to a number of obvious similarities between the two, including their physical design and inherent difficulty being taken apart due to Samsung’s use of profound amounts of glue, there are plenty of additional under-the-hood similarities between the S8 and S9 as well.

Last-Gen Camera

One of the teardown’s key findings revealed that the S9 and S9+ feature the same iris scanner and front-facing camera module employed in the Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8. This is a particularly interesting revelation, because Samsung has barked up a storm about the S9 duo’s “advanced camera capabilities” which include a new “Intelligent Scan” feature acting as the backbone of the South Korean OEMs quirky Animoji competitor, dubbed 3D Emoji.

If they employ the same biometric and front-facing camera hardware, as iFixit points out, those new features have a chance of arriving on the S8, S8+ and Note 8 via a routine software update — but only time will tell if that’s actually going to happen.

It’s Fragile

Another key finding that iFixit highlighted in their teardown report is that Samsung — much like Apple did with its iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X — decided to employ durable (yet nevertheless vulnerable) glass on both the front and back of the S9 duo.

While Samsung’s use of front and rear glass, which is meant to be conductive of the device’s wireless charging feature, is not a new design element for the company, it’s nevertheless meant to serve as a heads-up to their fragility and to the difficulty of accessing their internal components if or when they need to be serviced.

“Display and rear glass increase the chance of breakage, and make repairs difficult to start,” iFixit said, noting that “Replacing the screen requires removing the glass rear panel and disassembling the entire phone while battling tough adhesive.”

Moreover, as most of us would expect, “glass on front and back doubles the likelihood of drop damage,” iFixit added. “If the back glass breaks, you’ll be removing every component and replacing the entire chassis.”

Be sure to check out iFixit’s complete, step by step teardown of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.


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